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Lives Of The Most Remarkable Criminals Who have been Condemned and Executed for Murder, the Highway, Housebreaking, Street Robberies, Coining or other offences by Arthur L. Hayward

Part 5 out of 15

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therewith went so lame just as I entered the forest, that I really
thought his shoulder slipped. Finding it however impossible to get
him along, I was even glad to take up at a little blind alehouse
which I perceived had a yard and a stable behind it.

The man of the house received me very civilly, but when he
perceived my horse was so lame as scarce to be able to stir a step,
I observed he grew uneasy. I asked him whether I could lodge there
that night, he told me no, he had no room, I desired him, then, to
put something to my horse's foot, and let me sit up all night; for I
was resolved not to spoil a horse which cost me twenty guineas by
riding him in such a condition in which he was at present. The man
made me no answer, and I proposed the same questions to the wife.
She dealt more roughly and freely with me, and told me that truly I
neither could, nor should stay there, and was for hurrying her
husband to get my horse out. However, on putting a crown into her
hand and promising another for my lodging, she began to consider a
little; and at last told me that there was indeed a little bed above
stairs, on which she should order a clean pair of sheets to be put,
for she was persuaded I was more of a gentleman than to take any
notice of what I saw passed there.

This made me more uneasy than I was before. I concluded now I was
got amongst a den of highwaymen, and expected nothing less than to
be robbed and my throat cut. However, finding there was no remedy, I
even set myself down and endeavoured to be as easy as I could. By
this time it was very dark, and I heard three or four horsemen
alight and lead their horses into the yard. As the men returned and
were coming into the room where I was, I overheard my landlord say,
_Indeed, brother, you need not be uneasy, I am positive the
gentleman's a man of honour_, to which I heard another voice reply,
_What could our death do to any stranger? Faith, I don't apprehend
half the danger you do. I dare say the gentleman would be glad of
our company, and we should be pleased with his. Come, hang fear,
I'll lead the way._ So said, so done, in they came, five of them,
all disguised so effectually that I declare, unless it were in the
same disguise, I should not be able to distinguish any one of them.

Down they sat, and he who I suppose was constituted their captain
_pro hac vice_, accosted me with great civility, and asked me if I
would honour them with my company to supper. I acknowledge I did not
yet guess the profession of my new acquaintances, but supposing my
landlord would be cautious of suffering either a robbery or a murder
in his own house, I know not how, but by degrees my mind grew
perfectly easy. About ten o'clock I heard a very great noise of
horses, and soon after men's feet tramping in a room over my head.
Then my landlord came down and informed us supper was just ready to
go upon the table.

Upon this we were all desired to walk up, and he whom I before
called the captain, presented me, with a humorous kind of ceremony,
to a man more dignified than the rest who sat at the end of the
table, telling me at the same time, he hoped I would not refuse to
pay my respects to Prince Oroonoko, King of the Blacks. It then
immediately struck into my head who those worthy persons were, into
whose company I was thus accidentally fallen. I called myself a
thousand blockheads for not finding out before, but the hurry of
things, or to speak the truth, the fear I was in, prevented my
judging even from the most evident signs.

As soon as our awkward ceremony was over, supper was brought in; it
consisted of eighteen dishes of venison in every shape, roasted,
boiled with broth, hashed collops, pasties, umble pies, and a large
haunch in the middle, larded. I easily saw that of three ordinary
rooms of which the first floor of the house consisted, ours (by
taking down the partitions) was very large, and the company in all
twenty-one persons. At each of our elbows there was set a bottle of
claret, and the man and woman of the house sat down at the lower
end. Two or three of the fellows had good natural voices, and so the
evening was spent as merrily as the rakes pass theirs in the King's
Arms, or the City apprentices with their master's maids at Sadler's
Wells. About two the company seemed inclined to break up, having
first assured me that they should take my company as a favour any
Thursday evening, if I came that way.

I confess I did not sleep all night with reflecting on what had
passed, and could not resolve with myself whether these humorous
gentlemen in masquerade were to be ranked under the denomination of
knight-errants, or plain robbers. This I must tell you, by the by,
that with respect both to honesty and hardship, their life resembles
much that of the hussars, since drinking is all their delight, and
plundering their employment.

Before I conclude my epistle, it is fit I should inform you that
they did me the honour (with a design perhaps to have received me
into their order) of acquainting me with those rules by which their
society was governed.

In the first place their Black Prince assured me that their
government was perfectly monarchial, and that when upon expeditions
he had an absolute command; _but in the time of peace_, continued
he, _and at the table, government being no longer necessary, I
condescend to eat and drink familiarly with my subjects as friends.
We admit no man_, continued he, _into our society until he has been
twice drunk with us, that we may be perfectly acquainted with his
temper, in compliance with the old proverb--women, children and
drunken folks speak truth. But if the person who sues to be
admitted, declares solemnly he was never drunk in his life, and it
plainly appears to the society in such case, this rule is dispensed
with, and the person before admission is only bound to converse with
us a month. As soon as we have determined to admit him, he is then
to equip himself with a good mare or gelding, a brace of pistols,
and a gun of the size of this, to lie on the saddle bow. Then he is
sworn upon the horns over the chimney, and having a new name
conferred by the society, is thereby entered upon the roll, and from
that day forward, considered as a lawful member._

He went on with abundance more of their wise institutions, which I
think are not of consequence enough to tell you, and shall only
remark one thing more, which is the phrase they make use of in
speaking of one another, viz., _He is a very honest fellow and one
of us._ For you must know it is the first article in their creed
that there's no sin in deer-stealing.

In the morning, having given my landlady the other crown piece, I
found her temper so much altered for the better, that in my
conscience I believe she was not in the humour to have refused me
anything, no, not even the last favour; and so walking down the yard
and finding my horse in pretty tolerable order, I speeded directly
home, much in amaze at the new people I had discovered. You see I
have taken a great deal of pains in my letter; pray, in return, let
me have as long a one from you, and let me see if all your London
rambles can produce such another adventure.

I am, yours, etc.

Before I leave these people, I think it proper to acquaint my readers
that their folly was not to be extinguished by a single execution. There
were a great many young fellows of the same stamp, who were fools enough
to forfeit their lives upon the same occasion. However, the humour did
not run very long, though some of them were impudent enough to murder a
keeper or two afterwards. Yet in the space of a twelvemonth, the whole
nation of Blacks was extinguished, and these country rakes were
contented to play the fool upon easier terms. The last blood that was
shed on either side was that of a keeper's son at Old Windsor, whom some
of these wise people fired at as he looked out of the window, by which
means they drew on their own ruin and that of several numerous families
by which the country was put in such terror that we have heard nothing
of them since, though this Act of Parliament[44] as I shall tell you,
has been by construction extended to some other criminals, who were not
strictly speaking of the same kind as the Waltham Blacks.


[44] The Black Act (9 Geo. I, cap. 2) was repealed so late as 1827.

The Life of JULIAN, a Black Boy and Incendiary

From speaking of artificial blacks, I come now to relate the unhappy
death of one who was naturally of that colour. This poor creature's
Julian. At the time of his execution he seemed to be about sixteen years
of age, he had been stolen while young from his parents at Madras. He
still retained his pagan ignorance both in respect to religion and our

He was brought over by one Captain Dawes, who presented him to Mrs.
Elizabeth Turner, where he was used with the greatest tenderness and
kindness, she often calling him to dance and sing after his manner
before company; and he himself acknowledged that he had never been so
happy in his life as he was there. Yet, on a sudden, he stole about
twenty or thirty guineas, and then placing a candle under the sheets
left it burning to fire the house, and consume the inhabitants in it. Of
this, upon proof and his own confession made before Sir Francis Forbes
and Mr. Turner, he was convicted.

While he remained under sentence, he was often heard to mumble in
reproach and revengeful terms to himself. However, before his death he
learned the Lord's Prayer, and when it was demanded whether he would be
a Christian, he assented with great joy, which arose, it seems, from his
having heard the common foolish opinion that when christened Blacks are
to be set free. However, christened he was, and received at his baptism
the name of John.

The place in which he was confined being very damp, the boy having
nothing to lie on but a coat, caught so great a cold in his limbs that
he almost lost the use of them before his death, and continued in a
state of great pain and weakness; insomuch that when he was told he
must prepare for his execution, he determined with himself to forestall
it, and for that purpose desired one of the prisoners to lend him a
penknife, but the man, it seems, had more grace than to grant his
request, and he ended his life at Tyburn, according to his sentence.

The Life of ABRAHAM DEVAL, a Lottery Ticket Forger

Abraham Deval, who had been a clerk to the Lottery Office, at last took
it into his head to coin tickets for himself, and had such good luck
therein that he at one time counterfeited a certificate for L52 12s.
0d., for seven blank lottery tickets, in the year 1723. Two or three
other facts of the same nature he perpetrated with the like success, but
happening to counterfeit two blank tickets of the lottery in the year in
which he died, they were discovered, and he thereupon apprehended and
tried at the Old Bailey. On the first indictment, for want of evidence
he was acquitted, upon which he behaved himself with great insolence,
lolled out his tongue at the Court, and told them he did not value the
second indictment. But herein he happened to be mistaken, for the jury
found him guilty of that indictment and thereupon he received sentence
of death accordingly.

Notwithstanding that impudence with which he had treated the Court at
his trial, he complained very loudly of their not showing him favour;
nay, he even pretended that he had not justice done him. This he
grounded upon the score that the ticket he was indicted for was No. 39,
in the 651st course of payment. Now it seems that in searching of his
brother-in-law Parson's room, the original ticket was found, though very
much torn, from whence Deval would have had it taken to be no more than
a duplicate, and much blamed his counsel for not insisting long enough
upon this point, which if he had done, Deval entertained a strong
opinion that he could not have been convicted.

The apprehension of this and the uneasiness he was under with his irons
made him pass his last moments with great unquietness and discontent. He
said it was against the law to put men in irons, that fettering English
subjects (except they attempted to break prisons) was altogether
illegal. But after having raved at this rate for a small space, when he
found it did him no good, and that there were no hopes of a reprieve, he
even began to settle himself to the performance of those duties which
became a man in his sad condition and when he did apply himself
thereto, nobody could appear to have a juster sense than he of that
miserable and sad condition into which the folly and wickedness of his
life had brought him.

It is certain the man did not want parts, though sometimes he applied
them to the worst of purposes, and was cursed with an insolent and
overbearing temper which hindered him from being loved or respected
anywhere, and which never did him any service but in the last moments of
his life, where if it had not been for the severity of his behaviour,
Julian, the black boy, would have been very troublesome, both to him and
to the other person who was under sentence at the same time.

At the place of execution Deval owned the fact, but wished the
spectators to consider whether for all that he was legally convicted,
and so suffered in the thirtieth year of his age.

The Life of JOSEPH BLAKE, _alias_ BLUESKIN, a Footpad and Highwayman

As there is impudence and wickedness enough in the lives of most
malefactors to make persons of a sober education and behaviour wonder at
the depravity of human nature, so there are sometimes superlative rogues
who, in the infamous boldness of their behaviour, as far exceed the
ordinary class of rogues as they do honest people; and whenever such a
monster as this appears in the world, there are enough fools to gape at
him, and to make such a noise and outcry about his conduct as is sure to
invite others of the gang to imitate the obstinacy of his deportment,
through that false love of fame, which seems inherent to human nature.
Amongst the number of these, Joseph Blake, better known by his nickname
of Blueskin, always deserves to be remembered as one who thought
wickedness the greatest achievement, and studiously took the paths of
infamy in order to become famous.

By birth he was a native of this City of London. His parents being
persons in tolerable circumstances kept him six years at school, where
he did not learn half as much good from his master as he did evil from
his schoolfellow, William Blewitt, from whose lessons he copied so well
that all his education signified nothing. When he came from school he
absolutely refused to go to any employment, but on the contrary set up
for a robber when he was scarce seventeen, but from that time to the day
of his death was unsuccessful in all his undertakings, hardly ever
committing the most trivial fact but he experienced for it, either the
humanity of the mob, or of the keepers of Bridewell, out of which or
some other prison, he could hardly keep his feet for a month together.

He fell into the gang of Lock, Wilkinson, Carrick[45] Lincoln and Daniel
Carroll, which last having so often been mentioned, perhaps my readers
may be desirous to know what became of him. I shall therefore inform
them that after Carrick and Molony were executed for robbing Mr. Young,
as has been before related, he fled home to his own native country of
Ireland, where for a while making a great figure till he had exhausted
what little wealth he had brought over with him from England, he was
obliged to go again upon the old method to supply him. But
street-robbing being a very new thing at Dublin, it so alarmed that city
that they never ceased pursuing him, and one or two more who joined with
him, till catching them one night at their employment, they pursued
Carrol so closely that he was obliged to come to a close engagement with
a thief-taker, so he was killed upon the spot.

But to return to Blake, _alias_ Blueskin. Being one night out with his
gang, they robbed one Mr. Clark of eight shillings and a silver hilted
sword, just as candles were going to be lighted, and a woman looking
accidentally out of a window, perceived it, and cried out, _Thieves._
Wilkinson fired a pistol at her which, very luckily, upon her drawing in
her head, grazed upon the stone of the window, and did no other
mischief. Blake was also in the company of the same gang when they
attacked Captain Langley, at the corner of Hyde Park Road, as he was
going to the Camp[46]; but the Captain behaved himself so well that
notwithstanding they shot several times through and through his coat,
yet they were not able to rob him.

Not long after this Wilkinson being apprehended impeached a large number
of persons, and with them Joseph Blake and William Lock. Blake hereupon
made a fuller discovery than the other before Justice Blackerby; in
which information there was contained no less than seventy robberies,
upon which he also was admitted a witness. And having named Wilkinson,
Lincoln, Carrick, Carrol, and himself to have been the five persons who
murdered Peter Martin the Chelsea pensioner, by the Park wall, Wilkinson
was apprehended, tried and convicted, notwithstanding the information he
had before given (which was thereby totally set aside); so that Blake
himself became now an evidence against the rest of his companions, and
discovered about a dozen robberies which they had committed.

Amongst these there was one very remarkable one. Two gentlemen in
hunting caps were together in a chariot on the Hampstead Road, and they
took from them two gold watches, rings, seals and other things to a
considerable value. Junks, _alias_ Levee, laid his pistol down by the
gentleman all the while he searched him, yet he wanted either the
courage or the presence of mind to seize and prevent their losing things
of so great value. Not long after this, Oakey, Junks and this Blake,
stopped a single man with a link before him in Fig Lane; and he not
surrendering so easily as they expected, Junks and Oakey beat him over
the head with their pistols, and then left him wounded in a terrible
condition, taking from him one guinea and one penny. A very short time
after this, Junks, Oakey and Flood were apprehended and executed for
robbing Colonel Cope and Mr. Young of that very watch for which Carrick
and Molony had been before executed, Joseph Blake being the evidence
against them.

After this hanging work of his companions, he thought himself not only
entitled to liberty but reward. Herein, however, he was mightily
mistaken, for not having surrendered willingly and quietly, but being
taken after long resistance and when he was much wounded, there did not
seem to be the least foundation for this confident demand, he still
remaining a prisoner in the Wood Street Compter, obstinately refusing to
be transported for seven years, but insisting that as he had given
evidence he ought to have his liberty. However, the magistrates were of
another opinion, until at last by procuring two men to be bound for his
good behaviour, he was carried before a wealthy alderman of the City and
there discharged. At which time, somebody there present asking how long
time might be given him before they should see him again at the Old
Bailey, a gentleman made answer in about three sessions, in which time
it seems he guessed very right, for the third session from thence, Blake
was indeed brought to the Bar.

For no sooner were his feet at liberty but his hands were employed in
robbing, and having picked up Jack Shepherd for a companion, they went
out together to search for prey in the fields. Near the half-way house
to Hampstead they met with one Pargiter, a man pretty much in liquor,
whom immediately Blake knocked down into the ditch, where he must have
inevitably perished if John Shepherd had not kept his head above the mud
with great difficulty. For this fact, the next sessions after it
happened the two brothers Brightwell in the Guards were tried, and if a
number of men had not sworn them to have been upon duty at the time the
robbery was committed, they had certainly been convicted, the evidence
of the prosecutor being direct and full. Through the grief of this the
elder Brightwell died a week after he was released from his confinement,
and so did not live to see his innocence fully cleared by the confession
of Blake.

A very short space after this, Blake and his companion Shepherd
committed the burglary together in the house of Mr. Kneebone, where
Shepherd getting into the house, let in Blake at the back door and
stripped the house of a considerable value. For this, both Shepherd and
he were apprehended, and the sessions before Blake was convicted his
companion received sentence of death; but at the time Blake was taken
up, he had made his escape out of the condemned hold.

He behaved with great impudence at his trial, and when he found nothing
would save him, he took the advantage of Jonathan Wild coming to speak
with him, to cut the said Wild's throat, making a large gash from the
ear beyond the windpipe.[47] Of this wound Wild languished a long time,
and happy had it been for him if Blake's wound had proved fatal, for
then Jonathan had escaped death by a more dishonourable wound in the
throat than that of a penknife; but the number of his crimes and the
spleen of his enemies procured him a worse fate. Whatever Wild might
deserve of others, he seems to have merited better usage from this
Blake, for while he continued a prisoner in the Compter, Jonathan was at
the expense of curing his wound, allowing him three shillings and
sixpence a week, and after his last misfortune promised him a good
coffin, actually furnishing him with money to support him in Newgate,
and several good books, if he would have made any use of them; but
because he freely declared to Blueskin that there was no hopes of
getting him transported, the bloody villain determined to take away his
life, and was so far from showing any signs of remorse when he was
brought up again to Newgate, that he declared if he had thought of it
before, he would have provided such a knife as should have cut his head

At the time that he received sentence there was a woman also condemned,
and they being placed as usual in what is called the Bail Dock at the
Old Bailey, Blake offered such rudeness to the woman that she cried out
and alarmed the whole Bench. All the time he lay under condemnation he
appeared utterly thoughtless and insensible of his approaching fate.
Though from the cutting of Wild's throat, and some other barbarities of
the same nature, he acquired amongst the mob the character of a brave
fellow, yet he was in himself but a mean-spirited timorous wretch, and
never exerted himself but either through fury and despair. His cowardice
appealed manifestly in his behaviour at his death; he wept much at the
chapel in the morning he was to die, and though he drank deeply to drive
away fear, yet at the place of execution he wept again, trembled and
showed all the signs of a timorous confusion, as well he might, who had
lived wickedly and trifled with his repentance to the grave.

There was nothing in his person extraordinary. A dapper, well-set fellow
of great strength, and great cruelty, equally detested by the sober part
of the world for his audacious wickedness of his behaviour, and despised
by his companions for the villainies he committed even against them. He
was executed in the twenty-eighth year of his age, on the 11th of
November, 1724.


[45] See page 85.

[46] An encampment was formed in Hyde Park, about 1714. Writing
to Martha Blount, Pope says "The tents are carried there this
morning, new regiments with new clothes and furniture, far
exceeding the late cloth and linen designed by his Grace (the
Duke of Marlborough) for the soldiery."

[47] See also the Life of Jonathan Wild, subsequently related.

The Life of the Famous JOHN SHEPHERD, Footpad, Housebreaker and

Amongst the prodigies of ingenious wickedness and artful mischief which
have surprised the world in our time, perhaps none has made so great a
noise as John Shepherd, the malefactor of whom we are now to speak. His
father's name was Thomas Shepherd, who was by trade a carpenter, and
lived in Spitalfields, a man of an extraordinary good character, and who
took all the care his narrow circumstances would allow, that his family
might be brought up in the fear of God, and in just notions of their
duty towards their neighbour. Yet he was so unhappy in his children that
both his son John and another took to evil courses, and both in their
turns have been convicted at the bar at the Old Bailey.

After the father's death, his widow did all she could to get this
unfortunate son of hers admitted into Christ's Hospital, but failing of
that, she got him bred up at a school in Bishopsgate Street, where he
learned to read. He might in all probability have got a good education
if he had not been too soon removed, being put out to a trade, viz.,
that of a cane-chair-maker, who used him very well, and with whom
probably he might have lived honestly. But his mother dying a short time
afterwards, he was put to another, a much younger man, who used him so
harshly that in a little time he ran away from him, and was put to
another master, one Mr. Wood in Wych Street. From his kindness and that
of Mr. Kneebone (whom he robbed) he was taught to write and had many
other favours done by that gentleman whom he so ungratefully treated.
But good usage or bad, it was grown all alike to him now; he had given
himself up to all the sensual pleasures of low life. Drinking all day,
and getting to some impudent and notorious strumpet at night, was the
whole course of his life for a considerable space, without the least
reflection on what a miserable fate it might bring upon him here, much
less the judgment that might be passed upon him hereafter.

Amongst the chief of his mistresses there was one Elizabeth Lion,
commonly called Edgeworth Bess, the impudence of whose behaviour was
shocking even to the greatest part of Shepherd's companions, but it
charmed him so much that he suffered her for a while to direct him in
every thing, and she was the first who engaged him in taking base
methods to obtain money wherewith to purchase baser pleasures. This Lion
was a large masculine woman, and Shepherd a very little slight-limbed
lad, so that whenever he had been drinking and came to her quarrelsome,
Bess often beat him into better temper, though Shepherd upon other
occasions manifested his wanting neither courage nor strength. Repeated
quarrels, however, between Shepherd and his mistress, as it does often
with people of better rank, created such coldness that they spoke not
together sometimes for a month. But our robber could not be so long
without some fair one to take up his time, and drive his thoughts from
the consideration of his crimes and the punishment which might one day
befall them.

The creature he picked out to supply the place of Betty Lion was one
Mrs. Maggott, a woman somewhat less boisterous in her temper, but full
as wicked. She had a very great contempt for Shepherd, and only made use
of him to go and steal money, or what might yield money, for her to
spend in company that she liked better. One night when Shepherd came to
her and told her he had pawned the last thing he had for half a crown,
_Prithee_, says she, _don't tell me such melancholy stories but think
how you may get more money. I have been in Whitehorse Yard this
afternoon. There's a piece-broker there worth a great deal of money; he
keeps his cash in a drawer under the counter, and there's abundance of
good things in his shop that would be fit for me to wear. A word, you
know, to the wise is enough, let me see now how soon you'll put me in
possession of them._ This had the effect she desired; Shepherd left her
about one o'clock in the morning, went to the house she talked of, took
up the cellar window bars, and from thence entered the shop, which he
plundered of money and goods, to the amount of L22. He brought it to his
doxy the same day before she was stirring, who thereupon appeared very
satisfied with his diligence, and helped him in a short time to squander
what he had so dearly earned.

However, he still retained some affection for his old favourite, Bess
Lion, who being taken up for some of her tricks, was committed to St.
Giles's Round-house. Shepherd going to see her there, broke the doors
open, beat the keeper, and like a true knight-errant, set his distressed
paramour at liberty. This heroic act got him so much reputation amongst
the fair ladies in Drury Lane that there was nobody of his profession so
much esteemed by them as John Shepherd, with his brother Thomas, who had
taken to the same trade. Observing and being in himself in tolerable
estimation with that debauched part of the sex, he importuned some of
them to speak to his brother John to lend him a little money, and for
the future to allow him to go out robbing with him. To both these
propositions Jack (being a kind brother as he himself said) consented at
the first word, and from thence forward the two brothers were always of
one party: Jack having, as he impudently phrased it, lent him forty
shillings to put himself in a proper plight, and soon after their being
together having broke open an alehouse, where they got a tolerable
booty, in a high fit of generosity, John presented it all to his
brother, as, soon after, he did clothes to a very considerable extent,
so that the young man might not appear among the damsels of Drury
unbecoming Mr. Shepherd's brother.

About three weeks after their coming together, they broke open a
linen-draper's shop, near Clare Market, where the brothers made good use
of their time; for they were not in the house above a quarter of an hour
before they made a shift to strip it of L50. But the younger brother
acting imprudently in disposing of some of the goods, he was detected
and apprehended, upon which the first thing he did was to make a full
discovery to impeach his brother and as many of his confederates as he
could. Jack was very quickly apprehended upon his brother's information,
and was committed by Justice Parry to the Round-house, for further
examination. But instead of waiting for that, Jack began to examine as
well as he could the strength of the place of his confinement, which
being much too weak for a fellow of his capacity, he marched off before
night, and committed a robbery into the bargain, but vowed to be
revenged on Tom who had so basely behaved himself (as Jack phrased it)
towards so good a brother. However, that information going off, Jack
went on in his old way as usual.

One day in May he and F. Benson being in Leicester Fields, Benson
attempted to get a gentleman's watch, but missing his pull, the
gentleman perceived it and raised a mob. Shepherd passing briskly to
save his companion, was apprehended in his stead, and being carried
before Justice Walters, was committed to New Prison, where the first
sight he saw was his old companion, Bess Lion, who had found her way
thither upon a like errand. Jack, who now saw himself beset with danger,
began to exert all his little cunning, which was indeed his masterpiece.
For this purpose he applied first to Benson's friends, who were in good
circumstances, hoping by their mediation to make the matter up, but in
this he miscarried. Then he attempted a slight information, but the
Justice to whom he sent it, perceiving how trivial a thing it was, and
guessing well at the drift thereof, refused it. Whereupon Shepherd, when
driven to his last shift, communicated his resolution to Bess Lion. They
laid their heads together the fore part of the night, and then went to
work to break out, which they effected by force, and got safe off to one
of Bess Lion's old lodgings, where she kept him secret for some time,
frightening him with stories of great searches being made after him, in
order to detain him from conversing with any other woman.

But Jack being not naturally timorous, and having a strong inclination
to be out again in his old way with his companions, it was not long
before he gave her the slip, and lodged himself with another of his
female acquaintances, in a little by-court near the Strand. Here one
Charles Grace desired to become an associate with him. Jack was very
ready to take any young fellow in as a partner of his villainies, and
Grace told him that his reason for doing such things was to keep a
beautiful woman without the knowledge of his relations. Shepherd and he
therefore getting into the acquaintance of one Anthony Lamb, an
apprentice of Mr. Carter, near St. Clement's Church, they inveigled the
young man to consent to let them in to rob his master's house. He
accordingly performed it, and they took from Mr. Barton, who lodged
there, to a very considerable value. But Grace and Shepherd quarrelling
about the division, Shepherd wounded Grace in a violent manner, and on
this quarrel betraying one another, they were all taken, Shepherd only
escaping. But the misfortune of poor Lamb who had been drawn in, being
so very young, so far prevailed upon several gentlemen who knew him,
that they not only prevailed to have his sentence mitigated to
transportation, but also furnished him with all necessaries, and
procured an order that on his arrival there he should not be sold as the
other felons were, but that he should be left at liberty to provide for
himself as well as he could.

It seems that Shepherd's gang (which consisted of himself, his brother
Tom, Joseph Blake, _alias_ Blueskin, Charles Grace, James Sikes, to
whose name his companions tacked their two favourite syllables, Hell and
Fury) not knowing how to dispose of the goods they had taken, made use
of one William Field for that purpose, who Shepherd in his ludicrous
style, used to characterise thus: that he was a fellow wicked enough to
do anything, but his want of courage permitted him to do nothing but
carry on the trade he did, which was that of selling stolen goods when
put into his hands.

But Blake and Shepherd finding Field somewhat dilatory, not thinking it
always safe to trust him, they resolved to hire a warehouse and lodge
their goods there, which accordingly they did, near the Horseferry in
Westminster. There they placed what they had taken out of Mr. Kneebones'
house, and the goods made a great show there, whence the people in the
neighbourhood really took them for honest persons, who had so great a
wholesale business on their hands as occasioned their taking a place
where they by convenient for the water.

Field, however, importuned them (having got scent they had such a
warehouse) that he might go and see the goods, pretending that he had it
just now in his power to sell them at a very great price. They
accordingly carried him thither and showed him the things. Two or three
days afterwards, though he had not courage enough to rob anybody else,
Field ventured to break open the warehouse, and took every rag that had
been lodged there; and not long after, Shepherd was apprehended for the
fact and tried at the next sessions of the Old Bailey.

His appearance there was very mean, and all the defence he offered to
make was that Jonathan Wild had helped to dispose of part of the goods
and he thought it was very hard that he should not share in the
punishment. The Court took little notice of so insignificant a plea and
sentence being passed upon him, he hardly made a sensible petition for
the favour of the Court in the report, but behaved throughout as a
person either stupid or foolish, so far was he from appearing in any
degree likely to make the noise he afterwards did.

When put into the condemned hold, he prevailed upon one Fowls, who was
also under sentence, to lift him up to the iron spikes placed over the
door which looks into the lodge. A woman of large make attending
without, and two others standing behind her in riding hoods, Jack no
sooner got his head and shoulders through between the iron spikes, than
by a sudden spring his body followed with ease, and the women taking him
down gently, he was without suspicion of the keepers (although some of
them were drinking at the upper end of the lodge) conveyed safely out of
the lodge door, and getting a hackney coach went clear off before there
was the least notice of his escape, which, when it was known, very much
surprised the keepers, who never dreamt of an attempt of that kind

As soon as John breathed the fresh air, he went again briskly to his old
employment, and the first thing he did was to find out one Page, a
butcher of his acquaintance in Clare Market, who dressed him up in one
of his frocks, and then went with him upon the business of raising
money. No sooner had they set out, but Shepherd remembering one Mr.
Martin, a watchmaker near the Castle Tavern in Fleet Street, he
prevailed upon his companion to go thither, and screwing a gimlet fast
into the post of the door, they then tied the knocker thereto with a
spring, and then boldly breaking the windows, they snatched three
watches before a boy that was in the shop could open the door, and so
marched clear off, Shepherd having the impudence, upon this occasion, to
pass underneath Newgate.

However, he did not long enjoy his liberty, for strolling about Finchley
Common, he was apprehended and committed to Newgate, and was put
immediately in the Stone Room, where they put him on a heavy pair of
irons, and then stapled him fast down to the floor. Being left there
alone in the sessions time (most of the people in the gaol then
attending at the Old Bailey) with a crooked nail he opened the lock, and
by that means got rid of his chain, and went directly to the chimney in
the room, where with incessant working he got out a couple of stones and
by that means climbed up into a room called the Red Room, where nobody
had been lodged for a considerable time. Here he threw down a door,
which one would have thought impossible to have been done by the
strength of man (though with ever so much noise); from hence with a
great deal to do, he forced his passage into the chapel. There he broke
a spike off the door, forcing open by its help four other doors. Getting
at last upon the leads, he from thence descended gently (by the help of
the blanket on which he lay, for which he went back through the whole
prison) upon the leads of Mr. Bird, a turner who lives next door to
Newgate; and looking in at the garret window, he saw the maid going to
bed. As soon as he thought she was asleep, he stepped downstairs, went
through the shop, opened the door, then into the street, leaving the
door open behind him.

In the morning, when the keepers were in search after him, hearing of
this circumstance by the watchman, they were then perfectly satisfied of
the method by which he went off. However, they were obliged to publish
a reward and make the strictest enquiry after him, some foolish people
having propagated a report that he had not got out without connivance.
In the meanwhile, Shepherd found it a very difficult thing to get rid of
his irons, being obliged to lurk about and lie hid near a village not
far from town, until with much ado he fell upon a method of procuring a
hammer and taking his irons off.


_(From the Annals of Newgate)_]

He was no sooner freed from the encumbrance that remained upon him, than
he came secretly into the town that night, and robbed Mr. Rawlin's
house, a pawnbroker in Drury Lane. Here he got a very large booty, and
amongst other things a very handsome black suit of clothes and a gold
watch. Being dressed in this manner he carried the rest of the goods and
valuable effects to two women, one of whom was a poor young creature
whom Shepherd had seduced, and who was imprisoned on this account. No
sooner had she taken care of the booty but he went among his old
companions, pickpockets and whores in Drury Lane and Clare Market. There
being accidentally espied fuddling at a little brandy-shop, by a boy
belonging to an alehouse, who knew him very well, the lad immediately
gave information upon which he was apprehended, and reconducted, with a
vast mob, to his old mansion house of Newgate, being so much intoxicated
with liquor that he was hardly sensible of his miserable fate. However,
they took effectual care to prevent a third escape, never suffering him
to be alone a moment, which, as it put the keepers to a great expense,
they took care to pay themselves with the money they took of all who
came to see him.

In this last confinement it was that Mr. Shepherd and his adventures
became the sole topic of conversation about town. Numbers flocked daily
to behold him, and far from being displeased at being made a spectacle
of, he entertained all who came with the greatest gaiety that could be.
He acquainted them with all his adventures, related each of his
robberies in the most ludicrous manner, and endeavoured to set off every
circumstance of his flagitious life as well as his capacity would give
him leave, which, to say truth, was excellent at cunning, and
buffoonery, and nothing else.

Nor were the crowds that thronged to Newgate on this occasion made up of
the dregs of the people only, for then there would have been no wonder;
but instead of that they were persons of the first distinction, and not
a few even dignified with titles.[48] 'Tis certain that the noise made
about him, and this curiosity of persons of so high a rank, was a very
great misfortune to the poor wretch himself, who from these
circumstances began to conceive grand ideas of himself, as well as
strong hopes of pardon, which encouraged him to play over all his airs
and divert as many as thought it worth their while by their presence to
prevent a dying man from considering his latter end, who instead of
repenting of his crimes, gloried in rehearsing them.

Yet when Shepherd came up to chapel, it was observed that all his gaiety
was laid aside, and he both heard and assisted with great attention at
Divine Service, though upon other occasions he avoided religious
discourse as much as he could; and depending upon the petitions he had
made to several noblemen to intercede with the king for mercy, he seemed
rather to aim at diverting his time until he received a pardon, than to
improve the few days he had to prepare himself for his last.

On the 10th of November, 1724, he was by _Certiorari_ removed to the bar
of the Court of King's Bench, at Westminster. An affidavit being made
that he was the same John Shepherd mentioned in the record of conviction
before him, Mr. Justice Powis awarded judgment against him, and a rule
was made for his execution on the 16th.

Such was the unaccountable fondness this criminal had for life, and so
unwilling was he to lose all hopes of preserving it, that he framed in
his mind resolutions of cutting the rope when he should be bound in the
cart, thinking thereby to get amongst the crowd, and so into Lincoln's
Inn Fields, and from thence to the Thames. For this purpose he had
provided a knife, which was with great difficulty taken from him by Mr.
Watson, who was to attend him to death. Nay, his hopes were carried even
beyond hanging, for when he spoke to a person to whom he gave what money
he had remaining out of the large presents he had received from those
who came to divert themselves at Shepherd's Show, or Newgate Fair, he
most earnestly entreated him that as soon as possible his body might be
taken out of the hearse which was provided for him, put into a warm bed,
and if it were possible, some blood taken from him, for he was in great
hopes that he might be brought to life again; but if he was not, he
desired him to defray the expenses of his funeral, and return the
overplus to his poor mother. Then he resumed his usual discourse about
his robberies and in the last moments of his life endeavoured to divert
himself from the thoughts of death. Yet so uncertain and various was he
in his behaviour that he told one whom he had a great desire to see on
the morning that he died, that he had then a satisfaction at his heart,
as if he were going to enjoy two hundred pounds _per annum_.

At the place of execution, to which he was conveyed in a cart, with iron
handcuffs on, he behaved himself very gravely, confessing his robbery of
Mr. Philips and Mrs. Cook, but denied that he and Joseph Blake had
William Field in their company when they broke open the house of Mr.
Kneebone. After this he submitted to his fate on the 16th of November,
1724, much pitied by the mob.[49]


[48] While in Newgate he sat for his portrait to Sir James Thornhill.

[49] Over 200,000 persons witnessed his execution at Tyburn,
and a riot which broke out concerning the disposal of his corpse
was quelled by soldiers with fixed bayonets.

The Life of LEWIS HOUSSART, the French Barber, a Murderer

As there is not any crime more shocking to human nature or more contrary
to all laws human and divine than murder, so perhaps there has been few
committed in these last years accompanied with more odd circumstances
than that for which this criminal suffered.

Lewis Houssart was born at Sedan, a town in Champaigne in the kingdom of
France. His own paper says that he was bred a surgeon and qualified for
that business. However that were, he was here no better than a penny
barber, only that he let blood, and thereby got a little and not much
money. As to the other circumstances of his life, my memoirs are not
full enough to assist me in speaking thereto. All I can say of him is
that while his wife, Anne Rondeau, was living, he married another woman,
and the night of the marriage before sitting down to supper, he went out
a little space. During the interval between that and his coming in, it
was judged from the circumstances that I shall mention hereafter, that
he cut the throat of the poor woman who was his first wife, with a
razor. For this being apprehended he was tried at the Old Bailey, but
for want of proof sufficient was acquitted.

Not long after he was indicted for bigamy, i.e., for marrying his second
wife, his first having been yet alive. Scarce making any defence upon
this indictment he was found guilty. He said thereupon, it was no more
than he expected, and that he did not trouble himself to preserve so
much as his reputation in this respect; for in the first place he knew
they were resolved to convict him, and in the next, he said, where there
was no fault, there was no shame; that his first wife was a Socinian, an
irrational creature, and was entitled to the advantages of no nation nor
people because she was no Christian, and accordingly the Scripture says,
with such a one have no conversation, no, not so much as to eat with
them. But an appeal was lodged against him by Solomon Rondeau, brother
and heir to Anne his wife, yet that appearing to be defective, it was
quashed, and he charged upon another, whereunto joining issue upon six
points they came to be tried at the Old Bailey, where the following
circumstances appeared upon the trial.

First, that at the time he was at supper at his new wife's house, he
started on a sudden, looked aghast and seemed to be very much
frightened. A little boy deposed that the prisoner gave him money to go
to his own house in a little court, and fetch the mother of the deceased
Anne Rondeau to a gentleman who would be at such a place and wait for
her. When the mother returned from that place and found nobody wanting
her, or that had wanted her, she was very much out of humour at the
boy's calling her; but that quickly gave way to the surprise of finding
her daughter murdered as soon as she entered the room. This boy who
called her was very young, yet out of the number of persons who were in
Newgate he singled out Lewis Houssart, and declared that he was the only
man among them who gave him money to go on the errant for old Mistress

Upon this and several other corroborating proofs, the jury found him
guilty, upon which he arraigned the justice of a Court which hitherto
had been preserved without a taint, declaring that he was innocent, and
that they might punish if they would, but they could not make him
guilty, and much more to the like effect; but the Court were not
troubled with that, so he scarce endeavoured to make any other defence.

While in the condemned hold amongst the rest of the criminals, he
behaved himself in a very odd manner, insisted upon it that he was
innocent of the fact laid to his charge, threw out most opprobious
language against the Court that condemned him, and when he was advised
to lay aside such heats of passionate expressions, he said he was sorry
he did not more fully expose British justice upon the spot at the Old
Bailey, and that now since they had tied up his hands from acting, he
would at least have satisfaction in saying what he pleased.

When this Houssart was first apprehended he appeared to be very much
affected with his condition, was continually reading good books, praying
and meditating, and showing the utmost signs of a heart full of concern,
and under the greatest emotions, but after he had once been convicted,
it made a thorough change in his temper. He quite laid aside all the
former gravity of his temper and gave way, in the contrary, to a very
extraordinary spirit of obstinacy and unbelief. He puzzled himself
continually, and if Mr. Deval, who was then under sentence, would have
given leave, attempted to puzzle him too, as to the doctrines of a
future state, and an identical resurrection of the body. He said he
could not be persuaded of the truth thereof in a literal sense; that
when the individual frame of flesh which he bore about him was once
dead, and from being flesh became again clay, he did not either conceive
or believe that it, after lying in the earth, or disposed of otherwise
perhaps for the space of a thousand years, should at the last day be
reanimated by the soul which possessed it now, and become answerable
even to eternal punishment for crimes committed so long ago. It was, he
said, also little agreeable to the notions he entertained of the
infinite mercy of God, and therefore he chose rather to look upon such
doctrines as errors received from education, than torment and afflict
himself with the terrors which must arise from such a belief. But after
he had once answered as well as he could these objections, Mr. Deval
refused to harken a second time to any such discourses and was obliged
to have recourse to harsh language to oblige him to desist.

In the meanwhile his brother came over from Holland, on the news of this
dreadful misfortune, and went to make him a visit in the place of his
confinement while under condemnation, going to condole with him on the
heavy weight of his misfortunes. Upon which, instead of receiving the
kindness of his brother in the manner it deserved, Houssart began to
make light of the affair, and treated the death of his wife and his own
confinement in such a manner that his brother leaving him abruptly, went
back to Holland more shocked at the brutality of his behaviour than
grieved for the misfortune which had befallen him.

It being a considerable space of time that Houssart lay in confinement
in Newgate and even in the condemned hold, he had there, of course,
abundance of companions. But of them all he affected none so much as
John Shepherd, with whom he had abundance of merry and even loose
discourse. Once particularly, when the sparks flew very quickly out of
the charcoal fire, he said to Shepherd, _See, see! I wish these were so
many bullets that might beat the prison down about our ears, and then I
might die like Sampson._

It was near a month before he was called up to receive sentence, after
which he made no scruple of saying that since they had found him guilty
of throat-cutting, they should not lie, he would verify their judgment
by cutting his own throat. Upon which, when some who were in the same
sad state with himself, pointed out to him how great a crime self-murder
was, he immediately made answer that he was satisfied it was no crime at
all; and upon this he fell to arguing in favour of the mortality of the
soul, as if certain that it died with the body, endeavouring to cover
his opinions with false glosses on that text in Genesis where it is
said, that God breathed into man a living soul. From hence he would have
inferred that when a man ceased to live, he totally lost that soul, and
when it was asked of him where then it went, he said, he did not know,
nor did it concern him much.

The standers-by, who notwithstanding their profligate course of life had
a natural abhorrence of this theoretical impiety, reproved him in very
sharp terms for making use of such expression, upon which he replied,
_Ay! would you have me believe all the strange notions that are taught
by the parsons? That the devil is a real thing? That our good God
punishes souls for ever and ever? That Hell is full of flames from
material fire, and that this body of mine shall feel it? Well, you may
believe it if you please, but it is so with me that I cannot._

Sometimes, however, he would lay aside these sceptical opinions for a
time, talk in another strain, and appear mightily concerned at the
misfortunes he had drawn upon his second wife and child. He would then
speak of Providence, and the decrees of God with much seeming
submission, would own that he had been guilty of many and grievous
offences, say that the punishment of God was just, and desire the
prayers of the minister of the place, and those that were about him.

When he reflected on the grief it would give his father, near ninety
years old, to hear of his misfortunes and that his son should be
shamefully executed for the murder of his wife, he was seen to shed
tears and to appear very much affected; but as soon as these thoughts
were a little out of his head, he resumed his former temper and was
continually asking questions in relation to the truth of the Gospel
dispensation, and the doctrines therein taught of rewards and
punishments after this life.

Being a Frenchman and not perfectly versed in our language, a minister
of the Reformed Church of that nation was prevailed upon to attend him.
Houssart received him with tolerable civility, seemed pleased that he
should pray by him, but industriously waved aside all discourses of his
guilt, and even fell out into violent passions if confession was pressed
upon him as a duty. In this strange way he consumed the time allowed him
to prepare for another world.

The day before his execution he appeared more than ordinarily attentive
at the public devotions in the chapel. A sermon was then made with
particular regard to that fact for which he was to die; he heard that
also seemingly with much care, but when he was asked immediately after
to unburden his conscience in respect of the death of his wife, he not
only refused it, but also expressed a great indignation that he should
be tormented as he called it, to confess a thing of which he was not

In the evening of that day the foreign minister and he whose duty it was
to attend him, both waited upon him at night in order to discourse with
him on those strange notions he had of the mortality of the soul, and a
total cessation of being after this life. But when they came to speak to
him to this purpose, he said they might spare themselves any arguments
upon that head, for he believed a God and a resurrection as firmly as
they did. They then discoursed to him of the nature of a sufficient
repentance, and of the duty incumbent upon him to confess that great
crime for which he was condemned, and thereby give glory unto God. He
fell at this into his old temper, and said with some passion, _If you
will pray with me, I'll thank you, and pray with you as long as you
please; but if you come only to torture me with my guilt, I desire you
would let me alone altogether._

His lawyers having pretty well instructed him in the nature of an
appeal, and he coming thereby to know that he was now under sentence of
death, at the suit of the subject and not of the King, he was very
assiduous to learn where it was he was to apply for a reprieve; but
finding it was the relations of his deceased wife from whom he was to
expect it, he laid aside all those hopes, as conceiving it rightly a
thing impossible to prevail upon people to spare his life, who had
almost undone themselves in prosecuting him.

In the morning of the day of execution he was very much disturbed at
being refused the Sacrament, which as the minister told him, could not
be given him by the canon without his confession. Yet this did not
prevail; he said he would die without receiving it, as he had before
answered a French minister, who said, _Lewis Houssart, since you are
condemned on full evidence, and I see no reason but to believe you
guilty, I must, as a just pastor, inform you that if you persist in this
denial, and die without confession, you can look for nothing but to be
d----;_ to which Houssart replied, _You must look for damnation to
yourself for judging me guilty, when you know nothing of the matter._

This confused frame of mind he continued in until he entered the cart
for his execution, persisting in a like declaration of innocence all the
way he went, though sometimes intermixed with short prayers to God to
forgive his manifold sins and offences.

At the place of execution he turned very pale and grew very sick. The
ministers told him they would not pray by him unless he would confess
the murder for which he died. He said he was very sorry for that, but
if they would not pray by him he could not help it, he would not confess
what he was totally ignorant of. Even at the moment of being tied up he
persisted and when such exhortations were again repeated, he said: _Pray
do not torment me, pray cease troubling me. I tell you I will not make
myself worse than I am._ And so saying, he gave up the ghost without any
private prayer when left alone or calling upon God or Christ to receive
his spirit. He delivered to the minister of Newgate, however, a paper,
the copy which follows, from whence my readers will receive a more exact
idea of the man from this, his draught of himself, than from any picture
I can draw.

The Paper delivered by Lewis Houssart at his death.

I, Lewis Houssart, am forty years old, and was born in Sedan, a town
in Champaigne, near Boullonois. I have left France above fourteen
years. I was apprentice to a surgeon at Amsterdam, and after
examination was allowed by the college to be qualified for that
business, so that I intended to go on board a ship as surgeon, but I
could never have my health at sea. I dwelt sometime at Maestricht, in
the Dutch Brabant, where my aged father and brother now dwell. I
travelled through Holland and was in almost every town. My two
sisters are in France and also many of my relations, for the earth
has scarce any family more numerous than ours. Seven or eight years
have I been in London, and here I met with Anne Rondeau, who was
born at the same village with me, and therefore I loved her. After I
had left her, she wrote to me, and said she would reveal a secret. I
promised her to be secret, and she told me she had not been chaste,
and the consequence of it was upon her, upon which I gave her my
best help and assistance. Since she is dead I hope her soul is

Lewis Houssart

The Life of CHARLES TOWERS, a Minter in Wapping

Notwithstanding it must be apparent, even to a very ordinary
understanding, that the Law must be executed both in civil and criminal
cases, and that without such execution those who live under its
protection would be very unsafe, yet it happens so that those who feel
the smart of its judgment (though drawn upon them by their own misdeeds,
follies or misfortunes which the Law of man cannot remedy or prevent)
are always clamouring against its supposed severity, and making dreadful
complaints of the hardships they from thence sustain. This disposition
hath engaged numbers under these unhappy circumstances to attempt
screening themselves from the rigour of the laws by sheltering in
certain places, where by virtue of their own authority, or rather
necessities, they set up a right of exemption and endeavour to establish
a power of preserving those who live within certain limits from being
prosecuted according to the usual course of the Law.

Anciently, indeed, there were several sanctuaries which depended on the
Roman Catholic religion, and which were, of course, destroyed when
popery was done away by Law. However, those who had sheltered themselves
in them kept up such exemption, and by force withstood whatever civil
officers attempted to execute process for debt, and that so vigorously
that at length they seemed to have established by prescription what was
directly against Law. These pretended privileged places increased at
last to such an extent that in the ninth year of King William, the
legislature was obliged to make provision by a clause in an Act of
Parliament, requiring the sheriffs of London, Middlesex, and Surrey, the
head bailiff of the Dutchy Liberty, or the bailiff of Surrey, under the
penalty of one hundred pounds, to execute with the assistance of the
_posse comitatus_ any writ or warrant directed to them for seizing any
person within any pretended privilege place such as Whitefriars, the
Savoy, Salisbury Court, Ram Alley, Mitre Court, Fuller's Rents,
Baldwin's Gardens, Montague Close or the Minories, Mint, Clink, or Dead
Man's Place.[50] At the same time they ordered the assistance for
executing the Law, of any who obey the sheriff or other person or
persons in such places as aforesaid, with very great penalties upon
persons who attempt to rescue persons from the hands of justice in such

This law had a very good effect with respect to all places excepting
those within the jurisdiction of the Mint, though not without some
struggle. There, however, they still continued to keep up those
privileges they had assumed, and accordingly did maintain them by so far
misusing persons who attempted to execute processes amongst them, by
ducking them in ditches, dragging them through privies or "lay stalls,"
accompanied by a number of people dressed up in frightful habits, who
were summoned upon blowing a horn. All which at last became so very
great a grievance that the legislature was again forced to interpose,
and by an act of the 9th of the late King, the Mint, as it was commonly
called, situated in the parish of St. George's, Southwark, in the county
of Surrey, was taken away, and the punishment of transportation, and
even death, inflicted upon such who should persist in maintaining there
pretended privileges.

Yet so far did the Government extend its mercy, as to suffer all those
who at the time of passing the Act were actually shelterers in the Mint
(provided that they made a just discovery of their effects) to be
discharged from any imprisonment of their persons for any debts
contracted before that time. By this Act of Parliament, the privilege of
the Mint was totally taken away and destroyed.

The persons who had so many years supported themselves therein were
dissipated and dispersed. But many of them got again into debt, and
associating themselves with other persons in the same condition, with
unparalleled impudence they attempted to set up (towards Wapping) a new
privileged jurisdiction under the title of the Seven Cities of Refuge.
In this attempt they were much furthered and directed by one Major
Santloe, formerly a Justice of Peace, but being turned out of
commission, he came first a shelterer here, and afterwards a prisoner in
the Fleet. These people made an addition to these laws which had
formerly been established in such illegal sanctuaries, for they provided
large books in which they entered the names of persons who entered into
their association, swearing to defend one another against all bailiffs
and such like. In consequence of which, they very often rescued
prisoners out of custody, or even entered the houses of officers for
that purposes. Amongst the number of these unhappy people, who by
protecting themselves against the lesser judgments of the Law involved
themselves in greater difficulties, and at last drew on the greatest and
most heavy sentence which it could pronounce, was him we now speak of.

Charles Towers was a person whose circumstances had been bad for many
years, and in order to retrieve them he had turned gamester. For a
guinea or two, it seems, he engaged for the payment of a very
considerable debt for a friend, who not paying it at his time, Towers
was obliged to fly for shelter into the Old Mint, then in being. He went
into the New, which was just then setting up, and where the Shelterers
took upon them to act more licentiously and with greater outrages
towards officers of Justice than the people in any other places had
done. Particularly they erected a tribunal on which a person chosen for
that purpose sat as a judge with great state and solemnity. When any
bailiff had attempted to arrest persons within the limits which they
assumed for their jurisdiction, he was seized immediately by a mob of
their own people, and hurried before the judge of their own choosing.
There a sort of charge or indictment was preferred against him, for
attempting to disturb the peace of the Shelterers within the
jurisdiction of the Seven Cities of Refuge. Then they examined certain
witnesses to prove this, and thereupon pretending to convict such
bailiff as a criminal, he was sentenced by their judge aforesaid to be
whipped or otherwise punished as he thought fit, which was executed
frequently in the most cruel and barbarous manner, by dragging him
through ditches and other nasty places, tearing his clothes off his
back, and even endangering his life.

One West, who had got amongst them, being arrested by John Errington,
who carried him to his house by Wapping Wall, the Shelterers in the New
Mint no sooner heard thereof, but assembling on a Sunday morning in a
great number, with guns, swords, staves, and other offensive weapons,
they went to the house of the said John Errington, and there terrifying
and affrighting the persons in the house rescued John West, pursuant, as
they said, to their oaths, he being registered as a protected person in
their books of the Seven Cities of Refuge. In this expedition Charles
Towers was very forward, being dressed with only a blue pea-jacket,
without hat, wig or shirt, with a large stick like a quarter-staff in
his hand, his face and breast being so blackened that it appeared to be
done with soot and grease, contrary to the Statute made against those
called The Waltham Blacks, and done after the first day of June, 1723,
when that Statute took place.

Upon an indictment for this, the fact being very fully and dearly
proved, notwithstanding his defence, which was that he was no more
disguised than his necessity obliged him to be, not having wherewith to
provide himself clothes, and his face perhaps dirty and daubed with mud,
the jury found him guilty, and he thereupon received sentence of death.

Before the execution of that sentence, he insisted strenuously on his
innocence as to the point on which he was found guilty and condemned,
viz., having his face blacked and disguised within the intent and
meaning of the Statute, but he readily acknowledged that he had been
often present and assisted at such mock courts of justice as were held
in the New Mint, though he absolutely denied sitting as judge when one
Mr. Westwood, a bailiff, was most abominably abused by an order of that
pretended court. He seemed fully sensible of the ills and injuries he
had committed by being concerned amongst such people, but often said
that he thought the bailiffs had sufficiently revenged themselves by the
cruel treatment they had used the riotous persons with, when they fell
within their power, particularly since they hacked and chopped a
carpenter's right arm in such a manner that it was obliged to be cut
off; had abused others in so terrible a degree that they were not able
to work, or do anything for their living. He himself had received
several large cuts over the head, which though received six weeks
before, yet were in a very bad condition at the time of his death.

As to disguises, he constantly averred they were never practised in the
New Mint. He owned they had had some masquerades amongst them, to which
himself amongst others had gone in the dress of a miller, and his face
all covered with white, but as to any blacking or other means to prevent
his face being known when he rescued West he had none, but on the
contrary was in his usual habit as all the rest were that accompanied
him. He framed as well as he could a petition for mercy, setting forth
the circumstances of the thing, and the hardship he conceived it to be
to suffer upon the bare construction of an Act of Parliament. He set
forth likewise, the miserable condition of his wife and two children
already, she being also big of a third. This petition she presented to
his Majesty at the Council Chamber door, but the necessity there was of
preventing such combinations for obstructing justice, rendered it of no
effect. Upon her return, and Towers being acquainted with the result, he
said he was contented, that he went willingly into a land of quiet from
a world so troublesome and so tormenting as this had been to him. Then
he kneeled down and prayed with great fervency and devotion, after which
he appeared very composed and showed no rage against the prosecutor and
witnesses who had brought on his death, as is too often the case with
men in his miserable condition.

On the day appointed for his execution, he was carried in a cart to a
gallows whereon he was to suffer in Wapping, the crowd, as is not common
on such occasions, lamenting him, and pouring down showers of tears, he
himself behaving with great calmness and intrepidity. After prayers had
been said, he stood up in the cart, and turning towards the people,
professed his innocence in being in a disguise at the time of rescuing
Mr. West, and with the strongest asserverations said that it was Captain
Buckland and not himself who sat as judge upon Mr. Jones the bailiff,
though, as he complained, he had been ill-used while he remained a
prisoner upon that score. To this he added that for the robberies and
thefts with which he was charged, they were falsities, as he was a dying
man. Money indeed, be said, might be shaken out of the breeches pocket
of the bailiff when he was ditched, but that whether it was or was not
so, he was no judge, for he never saw any of it. That as to any design
of breaking open Sir Isaac Tilliard's house, he was innocent of that
also. In fine, he owned that the judgment of God was exceeding just for
the many offences he committed, but that the sentence of the Law was too
severe, because, as he understood it, he had done nothing culpable
within the intent of the Statute on which he died. After this, he
inveighed for some time against bailiffs, and then crying with vehemency
to God to receive his spirit, he gave up the ghost on the 4th of
January, 1724-5.

However the death of Towers might prevent people committing such acts as
breaking open the houses of bailiffs, and setting prisoners at liberty,
yet it did not quite stifle or destroy those attempts which necessitous
people made for screening themselves from public justice, insomuch that
the Government were obliged at last to cause a Bill to be brought into
Parliament for the preventing such attempts for the future, whereupon in
the 11th year of the late King, it passed into a law to this effect:

That if any number of persons not less than three, associate themselves
together in the hamlet of Wapping, Stepney, or in any other place within
the bills of mortality, in order to shelter themselves from their debts,
after complaint made thereof by presentment of a grand jury, and should
obstruct any officer legally empowered and authorised in the execution
of any writ or warrant against any person whatsoever, and in such
obstructing or hindering should hurt, wound or injure any person; then
any offender convicted of such offence, should suffer as a felon and be
transported for seven years in like manner as other persons are so
convicted. And it is further enacted by the same law that upon
application made to the judge of any Court, out of which the writs
therein mentioned are issued, the aforesaid judge, if he see proper, may
grant a warrant directly to the sheriff, or other person proper to raise
the _posse comitatus_, where there is any probability of resistance. And
if in the execution of such warrant any disturbance should happen, and a
rescue be made, then the persons assisting in such rescue, or who
harbour or conceal the persons so rescued, shall be transported for
seven years in like manner as if convicted of felony, but all
indictments upon this statute are to be commenced within six months
after the fact committed.


[50] Ram Alley was on the south side of Fleet Street, between
Sergeants' Inn and Mitre Court; Fuller's Rents is now Fulwood
Place, Holborn; Baldwin's Gardens runs from Gray's Inn Road to
Leather Lane; Montague Close was on the Southwark side, near
London Bridge; Dead Man's Place was a crooked street at the east
end of Bankside.

The Life of THOMAS ANDERSON, a Scotch Thief

Amongst a multitude of tragical adventures it is with some satisfaction
that I mention the life of a person who was of the number of those few
which take warning in time, and having once felt the rod of affliction,
fear it ever afterwards.

Thomas Anderson was the son of reputable parents in the city of
Aberdeen, in Scotland. His father was of the number of those unhappy
people who went over to Darien when the Scots made their settlement
there in the reign of the late King William, his son Thomas being left
under the care of his mother then a widow. By this his education
suffered, and he was put apprentice to a glazier, although his father
had been a man of some fashion, and the boy always educated with hopes
of living genteelly. However, he is not the first that has been so
deceived, though he took it so to heart that at first going to his
master his grief was so great as had very nigh killed him. He continued,
however, with his master two years, and then making bold with about nine
guineas of his, and thirteen of his mother's, he procured a horse and
made the greatest speed he could to Edinburgh.

Tom was sensible enough that he should be pursued, and hearing of a ship
ready to sail from Leith for London, he went on board it, and in five
days' time having a fair wind they arrived in the river of Thames. As
soon as he got on shore Tom had the precaution to take lodging in a
little street near Bur Street in Wapping, there he put his things; and
his stock now being dwindled to twelve guineas, he put two of them in
his fob, with his mother's old gold watch, which he had likewise brought
along with him, and then went out to see the town. He had not walked far
in Fleet Street, whither he had conveyed himself by boat, but he was
saluted by a well-dressed woman, in a tone almost as broad as his own.
Conscious of what he had committed he thought it was somebody that knew
him and would have taken him up. He turned thereupon pale, and started.
The woman observing his surprise, said, _Sir, I beg your pardon I took
you for one Mr. Johnson, of Hull, my near relation; but I see you are
not the same gentleman, though you are very like him._

Anderson thereupon taking heart, walked a little way with her, and the
woman inviting him to drink tea at her lodgings, he accepted it readily,
and away they went together to the bottom of Salisbury Court, where the
woman lived. After tea was over, so many overtures were made that our
new-come spark was easily drawn into an amour, and after a considerable
time spent in parley, it was at last agreed that he should pass for her
husband newly come from sea; and this being agreed upon, the landlady
was called up, and the story told in form. The name the woman assumed
was that of Johnson, and Tom consequently was obliged to go by the same.
So after compliments expressed on all sides for his safe return, a
supper was provided, and about ten o'clock they went to bed together.

Whether anything had been put in the drink, or whether it was only owing
to the quantity he had drunk, he slept very soundly until 11 o'clock in
the morning, when he was awakened by a knocking at the door; upon
getting up to open it, he was a little surprised at finding the woman
gone and more so at seeing the key thrown under the door. However, he
took it up and opened it: his landlady then delivered him a letter,
which as soon as she was gone he opened, and found it to run in these

Dear Sir,

You must know that for about three years I have been an unfortunate
woman, that is, have conversed with many of your sex, as I have done
with you. I need not tell you that you made me a present of what
money you had about you last night, after the reckoning over the way
at The George was paid. I told my landlady when I went out this
morning that I was going to bring home some linen for shirts; you
had best say so too, and so you may go away without noise, for as I
owe her above three pound for lodging, 'tis odds but that as you
said last night you were my husband, she will put you in trouble,
and that I think would be hard, for to be sure you have paid dear
enough for your frolic. I hope you will forgive this presumption,
and I am yours next time you meet me.

Jane Johnson

Tom was not a little chagrined at this accident, especially when he
found that not only the remainder of the two guineas, but also his
mother's gold watch, and a gold chain and ring was gone into the
bargain. However, he thought it best to take the woman's word, and so
coming down and putting on the best air he could, he told his landlady
he hoped his wife would bring the linen home time enough to go to
breakfast, and that in the meanwhile he would go to the coffee-house,
and read the news. The woman said it was very well, and Tom getting to
the waterside, directed them to row to the stairs nearest to his lodging
by Bur Street, ruminating all the way he went on the accident which had
befallen him.

The rumours of Jonathan Wild, then in the zenith of his glory, had
somehow or other reached the ears of our North Briton. He thereupon
mentioned him to the watermen, who perceiving that he was a stranger,
and hoping to get a pot of drink for the relation, obliged him with the
best account they were able of Mr. Wild and his proceedings. As soon,
therefore, as Anderson came home, he put the other two guineas in his
pocket, and over he came in a coach to the Old Bailey, where Mr. Wild
had just then set up in his office, Mr. Anderson being introduced in
form, acquainted him in good blunt Scotch how he had lost his money and
his watch. Jonathan used him very civilly, and promised his utmost
diligence in recovering it. Tom being willing to save money, enquired of
him his way home by land on foot, and having received instructions he
set out accordingly. About the middle of Cheapside a well-dressed
gentleman came up to him. _Friend_, says he, _I have heard you ask five
or six people, as I followed you, your way to Bur Street. I am going
thither and so if you'll walk along with me, 'twill save you the labour
of asking further questions._

Tom readily accepted the gentleman's civility, and so on they trudged,
until they came within twenty yards of the place, and into Tom's
knowledge. _Young man_, then says the stranger, _since I have shown you
the way home you must not refuse drinking a pint with me at a tavern
hard by, of my acquaintance._ No sooner were they entered and sat down,
but a third person was introduced into their company, as an acquaintance
of the former. A good supper was provided, and when they had drunk about
a pint of wine apiece, says the gentleman who brought him thither to
Anderson, _You seem an understanding young fellow. I fancy your
circumstances are not of the best. Come, if you have a tolerable head
and any courage, I'll put you in a way to live as easy as you can wish._

Tom pricked up his ears upon this motion, and told him that truly, as to
his circumstances, he had guessed very right, but that he wished he
would be so good as to put him into any road of living like a gentleman.
_For to say the truth, sir_, says he, _it was with that view I left my
own country to come up to London._

_Well spoken, my lad_, says the other, _and like a gentleman thou shalt
live. But hark ye, are you well acquainted with the men of quality's
families about Aberdeen? Yes, sir_, says he. _Well then_, replied the
stranger, _do you know none of them who has a son about your age? Yes,
yes_, replied Tom, _My Lord J---- sent his eldest son to our college at
Aberdeen to be bred, and he and I an much alike, and not above ten days
difference in our ages. Why then_, replied the spark, _it will do, and
here's to your honour's health. Come, from this time forward, you are
the Honourable Mr. ----, son and heir apparent to the Right Honourable,
the Lord ----._

To make the story short, these sharpers equipped him like the person
they put him upon the town to be, and lodging him at the house of a
Scotch merchant who was in the secret, with no less than three footmen
all in proper livery to attend him. In the space of ten days' time, they
took up effect upon his credit to the amount of a thousand pounds. Tom
was cunning enough to lay his hands on a good diamond ring, two suits of
clothes, and a handsome watch, and improved mightily from a fortnight's
conversation with these gentlemen. He foresaw the storm would quickly
begin, the news of his arrival under the name he had assumed, having
been in the papers a week; so to prevent what might happen to himself,
he sends his three footmen on different errands, and making up his
clothes and some holland shirts into a bundle, called a coach and drove
off to Bur Street, where having taken the remainder of his things that
had been there ever since his coming to town, he bid the fellow drive
him to the house of a person near St. Catherine's, to whom he had known
his mother direct letters when in Scotland.

Yet recollecting in the coach that by this means he might be discovered
by his relations, he called to the coachman before he reached there, and
remembering an inn in Holborn, which he had heard spoken of by the
Scotch merchant, where he had lodged in his last adventure, bid the
fellow drive thither, saying he was afraid to be out late, and if he
made haste he would give him a shilling. When he came thither and had
had his two portmanteaus carried into the inn, pretending to be very
sick he went immediately upstairs to bed, having first ordered a pint of
wine to be burnt and brought upstairs.

Reflecting in the night on the condition he was in and the consequence
of the measures he was taking, he resolved with himself to abandon his
ill-courses at once and try to live honestly in some plantation of the
West Indies. These meditations kept him pretty much awake, so that it
was late in the morning before he arose. Having ordered coffee for his
breakfast, he gave the chamberlain a shilling to go and fetch the
newspapers, where the first thing he saw was an account of his own cheat
in the body of the paper, and at the end of it an advertisement with a
reward for apprehending him. This made him very uneasy, and the rather
because he had no clothes but those which he had taken up as aforesaid;
so he ordered the chamberlain to send for a tailor, and pretended to be
so much indisposed that he could not get out. When the tailor came, he
directed him to make him a riding suit with all the expedition he could.
The tailor promised it in two days' time. The next day, pretending to be
still worse, he sent the chamberlain to take a place for him in the
Bristol coach, which being done, he removed himself and his things early
in the morning to the inn where it lay, and set out the next day
undiscovered for Bristol.

Three days after his arrival he met with a captain bound for the West
Indies, with whom having agreed for a passage, he set sail for Jamaica.
But a fresh gale at sea accidentally damaging their rudder, they were
obliged to come to an anchor in Cork, where the captain himself and
several other passengers went on shore. Anderson accompanied him to the
coffee-house, where calling for the papers that last came in, he had
like to have swooned at the table on finding himself to have been
discovered at Bristol, and to have sailed in such a ship the day before
the persons came down to apprehend him in order to his being carried
back to London.

As soon as he came a little to himself, he stepped up to the man of the
house and asked him for the vault [privy], which being shown him, he
immediately threw the paper down; and as soon as he came out, finding
the captain ready to go, he accompanied him with great satisfaction on
board again, where things being set to rights, by the next day at ten
o'clock they sailed with a fair wind, and without any further cross
accident arrived safe at Jamaica. There Tom had the good luck to pick up
a woman with a tolerable fortune, and about three years later remitted
L300 home to the jeweller who had been defrauded of the watch and the
ring, and directed him to pay what was over, after deducting his own
debt, to the people who had trusted him with other things, and who upon
his going off had recovered most of them, and were by this means made a
tolerable satisfaction.

He resided in the West Indies for about five years in all, and in that
time, by his own industry acquired a very handsome fortune of his own,
and therewith returned to Scotland.

I should be very glad if this story would incline some people who have
got money in not such honest ways (though perhaps less dangerous) to
endeavour at extenuating the crimes they have been guilty of, by making
such reparation as in their power, by which at once they atone for their
fault, and regain their lost reputation; but I am afraid this advice may
prove both unsuccessful and unseasonable and therefore shall proceed in
my narrations as the course of these memoirs directs me.

The Life of JOSEPH PICKEN, a Highwayman

There cannot, perhaps, be a greater misfortune to a man than his having
a woman of ill-principles about him, whether as a wife or otherwise.
When they once lay aside principles either of modesty or honesty, women
become commonly the most abandoned; and as their sex renders them
capable of seducing, so their vices tempt them not often to persuade men
to such crimes as otherwise, perhaps, they would never have thought of.
This was the case of the malefactor, the story of whose misfortunes we
are now to relate.

Joseph Picken was the son of a tailor in Clerkenwell, who worked hard at
his employment and took pleasure in nothing but providing for, and
bringing up his family. This unhappy son, Joseph, was his darling, and
nothing grieved him so much upon his death-bed, as the fears of what
might befall the boy, being then an infant of five years old. However,
his mother, though a widow, took so much care of his education, that he
was well enough instructed for the business she designed him, viz., that
of a vintner, to which profession he was bound at a noted tavern near

He served his time very faithfully and with great approbation, but
falling in love, or to speak more properly, taking a whim of marriage in
his head, he accepted of a young woman in the neighbourhood as his
partner for life. Soon after this, he removed to Windsor, where he took
the tap at a well-accustomed inn, and began the world in a very probable
way of doing well. However, partly through his own misfortunes, and
partly through the extravagance of his wife, in a little more than a
twelve months' time he found himself thirty pound in debt, and in no
likelihood from his trade of getting money to pay it. This made him very
melancholy, and nothing added so great a weight to his load of
affliction as the uneasiness he was under at the misfortunes which might
befall his wife, to whom as yet this fall in his circumstances was not

However, fearing it would be soon discovered in another way, at last he
mentioned it to her, at the same time telling her that she must retrench
her expenses, for he was now so far from being able to support them that
he could hardly get him family bread. Her mother and she thereupon
removed to a lodging, where by the side of the bed, poor Picken used to
slumber upon the boards, heavily disconsolate with the weight of his
misfortunes. One day after talking of them to his wife, he said: _I am
now quite at my wits' end. I have no way left to get anything to support
us; what shall I do? Do_, answered she, _why, what should a man do that
wants money and has any courage, but go upon the highway._

The poor man, not knowing how else to gain anything, even took her
advice, and recollecting a certain companion of his who had once upon a
time offered the same expedient for relieving their joint misfortunes,
Picken thereupon found him out, and without saying it was his wife's
proposal, pretended that his sorrows had at last so prevailed upon him
that he was resolved to repair the injuries of Fortune by taking away
something from those she had used better than him. His comrade unhappily
addicted himself still to his old way of thinking, and instead of
dissuading him from his purpose, seemed pleased that he had taken such a
resolution. He told him that for his part he always thought danger
rather to be chosen than want, and that while soldiers hazarded their
lives in war for sixpence a day, he thought it was cowardice to make a
man starve, where he had a chance of getting so much more than those who
hazarded as much as they did.

Accordingly Picken and his companion provided themselves that week with
all necessaries for their expedition, and going upon it in the beginning
of the next, set out and had success, as they called it, in two or three
enterprises. But returning to London in the end of the week, they were
apprehended for a robbery committed on one Charles Cooper, on Finchley
Common, for which they were tried the next sessions, and both capitally

Through fear of death and want of necessaries, Joseph Picken fell into a
low and languishing state of health, under which, however, he gave all
the signs of penitence and sorrow that could be expected for the crimes
he had committed. Yet though he loaded his wife with the weight of all
his crimes, he forebore any harsh or shocking reproaches against her,
saying only that as she had brought him into all the miseries he now
felt, so she had left him to bear the weight of them alone, without
either ever coming near him, or affording him any assistance. However,
he said he was so well satisfied of the multitude of his own sins, and
the need he had of forgiveness from God, that he thought it a small
condition to forgive her, which he did freely from his heart.

In these sentiments he took the Holy Sacrament, and continued with great
calmness to wait the execution of his sentence. In the passage to
execution and even at the fatal tree, he behaved himself with amazing
circumstances of quietness and resignation, and though he appeared much
less fearful than any of those who died with him, yet he parted with
life almost as soon as the cart was drawn away. He was about twenty-two
years of age, or somewhat more, at the time he suffered, which was on
the 24th of February, 1724-5, much pitied by the spectators, and much
lamented by those that knew him.

The Life of THOMAS PACKER, a Highwayman

Thomas Packer, the companion of the last-named criminal both in his
crimes and in his punishment, was the son of very honest and reputable
parents, not far from Newgate Street. His father gave him a competent
education, designing always to put him in a trade, and as soon as he was
fit for it placed him accordingly with a vintner at Greenwich. There he
served for some years, but growing out of humour with the place, be made
continual instances to his friends to be removed. They, willing and
desirous to comply with the young man's honours, at length after
repeated solicitation prevailed with his master to consent, and then he
was removed to another tavern in town. There he completed his time, but
ever after being of a rambling disposition, was continually changing
places and never settled.

Amongst those in which he had lived, there was a tavern where he resided
as a drawer for about six weeks. Here he got into acquaintance of a
woman, handsome, indeed, but of no fortune, and little reputation. His
affection for this woman and the money he spent on her, was the chief
occasion of those wants which prevailed upon him to join with Picken in
those attempts which were fatal to them both. It cannot, indeed, be said
that the woman in any degree excited him to such practices. On the
contrary, the poor creature really endeavoured by every method she could
to procure money for their support, and did all that in her lay (while
Packer was under his misfortunes) to prevent the necessities of life
from hindering him in that just care which was necessary to secure his
interest in that which was to come.

Packer was in himself a lad of very great good nature, and not without
just principles if he had been well improved, but the rambling life he
had led, and his too tender affection for the before-mentioned woman,
led him into great crimes rather than he would see her sustain great
wants. The reflection which he conceived his death would bring upon his
parents, and the miseries which he dreaded it would draw upon his wife
and child, seemed to press him heavier than any apprehension for
himself to his own sufferings, which from the time of his commitment he
bore with the greatest patience, and improved to the utmost of his
power. As he was sensible there was no hopes of remaining in this world,
so he immediately removed his thought, his wishes and his hopes from
thence, applied himself seriously to his devotions, and never suffered
even the woman whom he so much loved to interfere or hinder them in any

As it had been his first week of robbing, and his last too, he had
little confession to make in that respect. He acknowledged, however, the
fact which they had done in that space, and seemed to be heartily
penitent, ashamed and sorry for his offences. At the place of execution
he behaved with the same decency which accompanied him through all the
sorrowful stations of his sad condition. He was asked whether he would
say anything to the people, but he declined it, though he had a paper in
his hand which he had designed to read, which for the satisfaction of
the public, I have thought fit to annex.

The paper left by Thomas Packer.

Good People,

I see a large number of you assembled here, to behold a miserable
end of us whom the Law condemns to death for our offence, and for
the sake of giving you warning, makes us in our last moments, public
spectacles. I submit with the utmost resignation to the stroke of
the Law, and I heartily pray Almighty God that the sight of my
shameful death, may inspire every one of you with lasting
resolutions of leading an honest life. The facts for which both
Picken and I die were really committed by us, and consequently the
sentence under which we suffer, is very just. Let me then press ye
again that the warnings of our deaths may not be in vain, but that
you will remember our fate, and by urging that against your depraved
wishes, prevent following our steps; which is all I have to say.

Thomas Packer

He was about twenty years of age at the time he suffered, which was with
the afore-mentioned malefactor at Tyburn, much pitied by all the

The Life of THOMAS BRADLEY, a Street-Robber

One must want humanity and be totally void of that tenderness which
denominates both a man and a Christian if we feel not some pity for
those who are brought to a violent and shameful death from a sudden and
rash act, excited either by necessity or through the frailty of human
nature sinking under misfortune or hurried into mischief by a sudden
transport of passion. I am persuaded, therefore, that the greater part,
if not all of my readers will feel the same emotions of tenderness and
compassion for the miserable youth of whom I am now going to speak.

Thomas Bradley was the son of an officer in the Custom-House at
Liverpool. The father took care of his education, and having qualified
him for a seafaring business in reading and writing, placed him therein.
He came up accordingly with the master of a vessel to London, where some
misfortunes befalling the said master, Thomas was turned out of his
employment and left to shift for himself. Want pinched him. He had no
friends, nor anybody to whom be might apply for relief, and in the
anguish with which his sufferings oppressed him, he unfortunately
resolved to steal rather than submit to starving or to begging. One fact
he committed, but could never be prevailed on to mention the time, the
person or the place.

The robbery for which he was condemned was upon a woman carrying home
another woman's riding-hood which she had borrowed; and he assaulting
her on the highway took it from her, which was valued at 25s. Upon this
he was capitally convicted at the next sessions at the Old Bailey, nor
could never be prevailed on by a person to apply for a pardon. On the
contrary, he said it was his greatest grief that notwithstanding all he
could do to stifle it, the news would reach his father, and break his
heart. He was told that such thoughts were better omitted than suffered
to disturb him, when he was on the point of going to another (and if he
repented thoroughly) to a better life; at which he sighed and said their
reasoning was very right, and he would comply with it if he could. From
that time he appeared more composed and cheerful, and resigned to his
fate. This temper he preserved to the time of his execution, and died
with as much courage and penitence as is ever seen in any of those
unhappy persons who suffer at the same place.

At the time of his death he was not quite nineteen years of age. He died
between the last mentioned malefactor and him whose life we are next to

The Life of WILLIAM LIPSAT, a Thief

William Lipsat was the son of a person at Dublin, in very tolerable
circumstances, which he strained to the utmost to give this lad a
tolerable education. When he had acquired this he sent him over to an
uncle of his at Stockden, in Worcestershire, where he lived with more
indulgence than even when at home, his uncle having no children, and
behaving to him with all the tenderness of a parent. However, on some
little difference (the boy having long had an inclination to see this
great City of London) he took that occasion to go away from his uncle,
and accordingly came up to town, and was employed in the service of one
Mr. Kelway. He had not been long there before he received a letter from
his father, entreating him to return to Dublin with all the speed he was
able. This letter was soon followed by another, which not only desired,
but commanded him to come back to Ireland. He was not troubled at
thinking of the voyage and going home to his friends, but he was very
desirous of carrying money over with him to make a figure amongst his
relations, which not knowing how to get, he at last bethought himself of
stealing it from a place in which he knew it lay. After several
struggles with himself, vanity prevailed, and he accordingly went and
took away the things, viz., 57 guineas and a half, 25 Caroluses,[51] 5
Jacobuses, 3 Moidores, six piece of silver, two purses valued at twelve
pence. These, as he said, would have made his journey pleasant and his
reception welcome, which was the reason he took them. The evidence was
very dear and direct against him, so that the jury found him guilty
without hesitation.

From the time of his condemnation to the day he died, he neither
affected to extenuate his crime, nor reflect, as some are apt to do, on
the cruelty of the prosecutors, witnesses, or the Court that condemned
him. So far from it, that he always acknowledged the justice of his
sentence, seemed grieved only for the greatness of his sin and the
affliction of the punishment of it would bring upon his relations, who
had hitherto always born the best of characters, though by his failing
they were now like to be stigmatised with the most infamous crimes.
However, since his grief came now too late, he resolved as much as he
was able to keep such thoughts out of his head, and apply himself to
what more nearly concerned him, and for which all the little time he had
was rather too short. In a word, in his condition, none behaved with
more gravity, or to outward appearance with more penitence than this
criminal did.

He suffered with the same resignation which had appeared in everything
he did from the time of his condemnation, on the 1st of February,
1724-5, with the before-mentioned malefactors, being then scarce
eighteen years of age.


[51] Carolus was a gold coin of Charles I, worth 20s.-23s.; a
Jacobus, coined by James I, was of the same value; the moidore
was worth about 27s.

The Life of JOHN HEWLET, a Murderer

There are several facts which have happened in the world, the
circumstances attending which, if we compare them as they are related by
one or other, we can hardly fix in our own mind any certainty of belief
concerning them, such an equality is there in the weight of evidence of
one side and of the other. Such, at the time it happened, was the case
of the malefactor before us.

John Hewlet was born in Warwickshire, the son of Richard Hewlet, a
butcher, and though not bred up with his father, he was yet bred to the
same employment at Leicester, from which, malicious people said he
acquired a bloody and barbarous disposition. However, he did not serve
his time out with his master, but being a strong, sturdy young fellow,
and hoping some extraordinary preferment in the army, with that view he
engaged himself in the First Regiment of the Guards, during the reign of
the late King William.

In the war he gained the reputation of a very brave, but a very cruel
and very rough fellow, and therefore was relied on by his officers, yet
never liked by them. Persons of a similar disposition generally live on
good terms with one another. Hewlet found out a corporal, one Blunt,
much of the same humour with himself, never pleased when in safety, nor
afraid though in the midst of danger.

At the siege of Namur, in Flanders, these fellows happened to be both in
the trenches when the French made a desperate sally and were beaten off
at last with much loss and in such confusion that their pursuers lodged
themselves in one of the outworks, and had like to have gained another,
in the attack on which a young cadet of the regiment in which Blunt
served was killed. Blunt observing it, went to the commanding officer
and told him that the cadet had nineteen pistoles in his pocket, and it
was a shame the French should have them. _Why, that's true, corporal_,
said the Colonel, _but I don't see at present how we can help it. No_,
replied Blunt, _give me but leave to go and search his pockets, and I'll
answer for bringing the money back. Why, fool_, said the Colonel, _dost
thou not see the place covered with French? Should a man stir from hence
they would pour a whole shower of small shot upon him. I'll venture
that_, says Blunt. _But how will you know the body?_ added the Colonel.
_I am afraid we have left a score besides him behind us. Why, look ye,
sir_, said the Corporal, _let me have no more objections, and I'll
answer that, he was clapped, good Colonel, do you see, and that to some
purpose; so that if I can't know him by his face, I may know him by
somewhat else. Well_, said the Colonel, _if you have a mind to be
knocked on the head, and take it ill to be denied, you must go, I

On which Blunt, waiting for no further orders, marched directly in the
midst of the enemy's fire to the dead bodies, which law within ten yards
of the muzzle of their pieces, and turning over several of the dead
bodies, he distinguished that of the cadet, and brought away the prize
for which he had so fairly ventured.

This action put Hewlet on his mettle. He resolved to do something that
might equal it, and an opportunity offered some time after, of
performing such a service as no man in the army would have undertaken.
It happened thus: the engineer who was to set fire to the train of a
mine which had been made under a bastion of the enemy's, happened to
have drank very hard over night, and mistaking the hour, laid the match
an hour sooner than he ought. A sentinel immediately came out, called
out aloud, _What, have you clapped fire to the train? There's twenty
people in the mine who will be all blown up; it should not have been
fired till 12 o'clock._

On hearing this Hewlet ran in with his sword drawn, and therewith cut
off the train the moment before it would have given fire to all the
barrels of powder that were within, by which he saved the lives of all
the pioneers who were carrying the mines still forward at the time the
wild fire was unseasonably lighted by the engineer.

At the battle of Landau he had his skull broken open by a blow from the
butt end of a musket. This occasioned his going through the operation
called trepanning, which is performed by an engine like a coffee-mill,
which being fixed on the bruised part of the bone, is turned round, and
cuts out all the black till the edges appear white and sound. After this
cure had been performed upon him, he never had his senses in the same
manner as he had before, but upon the least drinking fell into a passion
which was but very little removed from madness.

He returned into England after the Peace of Ryswick, and being taken
into a gentleman's service, he there married a wife, by whom he had nine
children. Happy was it for them that they were all dead before his
disastrous end.

How Hewlet came to be employed as a watchman a little before his death,
the papers I have give me no account of, only that he was in that
station at the time of the death of Joseph Candy, for whose murder he
was indicted for giving him a mortal bruise on the head with his staff.

On the 26th of December, 1724, upon full evidences of eye-witnesses, the
jury found him guilty, he making no other defence than great
asservations of his innocence, and an obstinate denial of the fact.
After his conviction, being visited in the condemned hold, instead of
showing any marks of penitence or contrition, he raved against the
witnesses who had been produced to destroy him, called them all
perjured, and prayed God to inflict some dreadful judgment on them. Nay,
he went so far as to desire that he ought himself have the executing
thereof, wishing that after his death his apparition might come and
terrify them to their graves. When it was represented to him how odd
this behaviour was, and how far distant from that calmness and
tranquillity of mind with which it became him to clothe himself before
he went into the presence of his Maker, these representations had no
effect; he still continued to rave against his accusers, and against the
witnesses who had sworn at his trial. As death grew nearer he appeared
not a bit terrified, nor seemed uneasy at all at leaving this life, only
at leaving his wife, and as he phrased it, some old acquaintance in
Warwickshire. However, he desired to receive the Sacrament, and said he
would prepare himself for it as well as he could.

He went to the place of execution in the same manner in which he had
passed the days of his confinement till that time. At Tyburn he was not
satisfied with protesting his innocence to the people, but designing to
have one of the Prayer Books which was made use of in the cart, he
kissed it as people do when they take oath, and then again turning to
the mob, declared as he was a dying man, he never gave Candy a blow in
his life. Thus with many ejaculations he gave way to fate in an advanced
age at Tyburn, at the same time with the malefactors last mentioned.

The Lives of JAMES CAMMEL and WILLIAM MARSHAL, Thieves and Footpads

James Cammel was born of parents in very low circumstances, and the
misfortunes arising therefrom were much increased by his father dying
while he was an infant, and leaving him to the care of a widow in the
lowest circumstances of life. The consequence was what might be easily
foreseen, for he forgot what little he had learned in his youngest days,
loitering away his time about Islington, Hoxton, Moorfield, and such
places, being continually drinking there, and playing at cudgels,
skittles, and such like. He never applied himself to labour or honest
working for his bread, but either got it from his mother or a few other
friends, or by methods of a more scandalous nature--I mean pilfering and
stealing from others, for which after he had long practised it, he came
at last to an untimely death.

He was a fellow of a froward disposition, hasty and yet revengeful, and
made up of almost all the vices that go to forming a debauchee in low
life. He had had a long acquaintance with the person that suffered with
him for their offences, but what made him appear in the worst light was
that he had endeavoured to commit acts of cruelty at the time he did the
robbery. Notwithstanding he insisted not only that he was innocent of
the latter part of the offence but that he never committed the robbery
at all, though Marshal his associate did not deny it.

They had been together in these exploits for some time, and once
particularly coming from Sadlers Wells, they took from a gentlewoman a
basket full of bed-child linen to a very great value, which offering to
sell to a woman in Monmouth Street, she privately sent for a constable
to apprehend them. One of their companions who went with them observing
this, he tipped them the wink to be gone, which the old woman of the
house perceiving, caught hold of Marshal by the coat; and while they
struggled, the third man whipped off a gold watch, a silver collar and
bells, and a silver plate for holding snuffers, and pretending to
interpose in the quarrel slipped through them, and out at the door, as
Cammel and Marshal did immediately after him.

Once upon a time it happened that Marshal had no money, and his credit
being at a par, and a warrant out to take him for a great debt, and
another to take him for picking of pockets, he was in a great quandary
how to escape both. He strolled into St. James's Park, and walking there
pretty late behind the trees, a woman came up to the seat directly
before him, when she fell to roaring and crying. Marshal being unseen,
clapped himself down behind the seat, and listened with great attention.
He perceived the woman had her pocket in her hand, and heard her
distinctly say that a rogue not to be contented with cutting one pocket
and taking it away, but he must cut the other and let it drop at her
foot. Then she wiped her eyes and laying down her pocket by her, began
to shake her petticoats to see if the other pocket had not lodged
between them as the former had done. So Marshal took the opportunity and
secretly conveyed that away, thinking one lamentation might serve for
both. Upon turning the pocket out, he found only a thread paper, a
housewife and a crown piece. Upon this crown piece he lived a fortnight
at a milk-house, coming twice a day for milk, and hiding himself at
nights in some of the grass plots, it being summer.

But his creditor dying, and the person whose pocket he had picked going
to Denmark, he came abroad again, and soon after engaged with Cammel in
the fact for which they were both hanged. It was committed upon a man
and a woman coming through the fields from Islington, and the things
they took did not amount to above 30 shillings. After they were
convicted and had received sentence of death, Cammel sent for _The
Practice of Piety, The Whole Duty of Man_, and such other good books as
he thought might assist him in the performance of their duty. Yet
notwithstanding all the outward appearance of resignation to the Divine
Will, the Sunday before his execution, upon the coming in to the chapel
of a person whom he took to be his prosecutor, he flew into a very great
passion, and expressed his uneasiness that he had no instrument there to
murder him with; and notwithstanding all that could be said to him to
abate his passion, he continued restless and uneasy until the person was
obliged to withdraw, and then with great attention applied himself to
hear the prayers, and discourse that was made proper for that occasion.

Marshal in the meanwhile continued very sick, but though he could not
attend the chapel, did all that could be expected from a true penitent.
In this condition they both continued until the time of their death,
when Marshal truly acknowledged the fact, but Cammel prevaricated about
it, and at last peremptorily denied it. They suffered on the 30th of
April, 1725, Cammel appearing with an extraordinary carelessness and
unconcern, desired them to put him out of the world quickly, and was
very angry that they did not do it in less time.

The Life of JOHN GUY, a Deer-stealer

One would have thought that the numerous executions which had happened
upon the appearance of those called the Waltham Blacks,[52] and the
severity of that Act of Parliament which their folly had occasioned,
would effectually have prevented any outrages for the future upon either
the forests belonging to the Crown, or the parks of private gentlemen;
but it seems there were still fools capable of undertaking such mad

It is said that Guy being at a public house with a young woman whom, as
the country people phrase it, was his sweetheart, a discourse arose at
supper concerning the expeditions of the deer-stealers, which Guy's
mistress took occasion to express great admiration of, and to regard
them as so many heroes, who had behaved with courage enough to win the
most obdurate heart, adding that she was very fond of venison, and she
wished she had known some of them. This silly accident proved fatal to
the poor fellow, who engaging with one Biddisford, an old deer-stealer,
they broke into such forests and parks and carried off abundance of deer
with impunity. But the keepers at last getting a number of stout young
fellows to their assistance, waylaid them one night, when they were
informed by the keeper of an alehouse that Guy and Biddisford intended
to come for deer.

I must inform my reader that the method these young men took in
deer-stealing was this. They went into the park on foot, sometimes with
a crossbow, and sometimes with a couple of dogs, being armed always,
however, with pistols for their own defence. When they had killed a
buck, they trussed him up and put him upon their backs and so walked
off, neither of them being able to procure horses for such service.

On the night that the keepers were acquainted with their coming, they
sent to a neighbouring gentleman for the assistance of two of his
grooms; the fellows came about 11 o'clock at night, and tying their
horses in a little copse went to the place where the keepers had
appointed to keep guard. This was on a little rising ground, planted
with a star grove, through the avenues of which they could see all round
them without being discerned themselves. No sooner, therefore, had Guy
and his companion passed into the forest, but suffering them to pass by
one of the entries of the grove where they were, they immediately issued
out upon them, and pursued them so closely that they were within a few
yards of them when they entered the coppice, where the two grooms had
left their horses. They did not stay so much as to untie them, but
cutting the bridles, mounted them and rode off as hard as they could,
turning them loose as soon as they were in safety, and got home secure,
because the keepers could not say they had done anything but walk across
the forest.

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